For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29:11

Today marks a year that I almost lost my life. Thank you God for this amazing year. I couldn't have done it without faith and trust in you. I never felt really comfortable sharing this, but it's important for others to be aware of this condition because it can save someone's life. I was diagnosed with AVM, a malformation in the brain. A connection between arteries and veins usually in the brain or the spine. I'm in excruciating pain everyday, all day. Essentially, I have blood building up in a difficult part of the brain. My AVM is located on a part that determines paralysis, without the proper treatment I could die. Being rushed to the hospital, after fainting in the bathroom was the last thing I expected. At this point my brain hemorrhaged, when I arrived they took me to an emergency surgery and told my parents I had a 40% of survival. Till this day, I've had several surgeries, radiation, and procedures. I was in and out of hospitals all year. I lost 35 pounds and had to take 30+ medicines a day. I lost faith, I was angry with God for all that was happening to me, it took me a while to accept what is. I learned I can't change stones to breaks, I can never change what happened to me. My illness has brought so many beautiful moments. Without this I wouldn't have found God again. I wouldn't have the most amazing best friends in the world. I wouldn't have met my pastor who has changed my life. Mainly, I want to thank everyone who stopped by to see me, those who sent me gifts, people that prayed for me, or even stopped me in the hallway to ask how's my day going. You all will forever be in my hearts, my family and I are forever grateful to you.

To my best friend Lauryn, wow there's so much I can say. You were there every single day with me. When I was hooked on to so many machines, you cried with me. You laughed with me when I was so high on the drugs lol.

Mama Jackie and Terrence were there for me, she will always be my second mom and you'll always be my best friend. I love you so much Lauryn Nicole. Walter is my brother and my other half. I trust you more then anybody, you were literally there every night and woke me up every morning with a big smile. You were holding my hand as doctors were sticking needles all through my body, but most importantly you never left, even through the toughest times. You're the light of my life. And lastly, my parents. I don't know what I would've done without them. I owe everything to them. We have grown so much closer, these four are truly my best-friends and I wouldn't be the person I am today without them. They truly mean the world to me. I know I'm not healed but one day I will be, whether it's in this life or the next. God has a plan for me, he has a plan for all of you. I pray that whatever troubles any of you may have, that God will heal you! Through my situation, I met these amazing people in this picture, their strength is why I fight everyday. This is a special and small group of about 25 adults and children who are suffering will illnesses (brain cancer, tumors, heart diseases etc) We meet every month for a healing mass then have a lunch with everyone after. We email each other everyday and call each other whenever we have major surgeries or scans. I ask if you can please pray over their healing and strength! I love them very much, I cry every time I think of them because they are truly the most beautiful and inspirational people I've ever met. Father Dan brought us all together, he helped me find God again. Saint Andrews is my parish, my second home I couldn't be any happier. Thank you God for this amazing year.

– Gabriela Garay